Australian Lefty on Politics, Governance, Science and Info Management

Double vanity

Posted by Dave Bath on 2009-02-20

Wanting vanity surgery is even more pathetic than I thought – people think they are more attractive than they are to begin with.

Test images used when asking test subject to pick photograph of themselves... results were skewed to a morphed more attractive one.

Vanity Test Sample Morphs

A neat experiment ("Mirror, Mirror on the Wall: Enhancement in Self-Recognition" Nicholas Epley and Erin Whitchurch, DOI: 10.1177/0146167208318601) asked people to pick their own photograph from a set that had different degrees of morphing between the original photo of the test subject, and "ugly" and "beautiful" faces.

At the risk of being overly simplistic, people picked as themselves not their real photo, but one that had been morphed into something more beautiful.

So… if those undergoing vanity surgery are doing so because they don’t think themselves "beautiful" enough, even though they think themselves more "beautiful" than they actually are, then the vanity is even worse.

It’s not like the vanity surgery candidates are too harsh about their own looks!

So, when the attractiveness of the vanity surgery candidate is within the normal range, yet the candidate says "I feel I’m ugly" when attempting to justify the surgery on grounds of removing a psychological problem, then there is a fair chance they are lying (or at least the appropriate health professional is a shrink not a surgeon).

Vanity surgeons should read this paper, honestly assess for deception by the vanity victim, and be very careful before putting down a false justification in the paperwork that helps get funding for any procedures, especially if the taxpayer is footing any of the bill.

(I don’t need vanity surgery of course, become I’m so good looking and with such a fantastic physique that Adonis would be jealous.)

Hat tip for original paper, but not my spin: Scientific American


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